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25 Nov 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 25 Nov 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Russia’s nuclear icebreakers and militarisation of the Arctic
C. GS 3 Related
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY
1. Boundary Dispute between States
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India-Australia Free Trade Agreement
GOVERNANCE
1. OTT (Communication Services) and draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022
F. Prelims Facts
1. Burlang Yatra
G. Tidbits
1. Civil Aviation Ministry notifies draft Aircraft Security Rules, 2022
2. Unemployment rate dips marginally to 7.2% in July-September: survey
3. Domestic demand to help offset dent in exports from global slowdown: Ministry
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Syllabus: Bilateral Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests

Mains: Significance of Free Trade Agreements in global context

Context: Australian parliament recently approved a free trade agreement with India.

Introduction

  • The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) was recently approved by the Australian parliament. In India, such pacts are approved by the Union Cabinet.
  • India and Australia will implement the FTA on a mutually agreed date. The agreement was signed by both sides in April 2022. 
  • This will further strengthen the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. 
  • The ECTA will enter into force 30 days (or another mutually agreed time) after the respective parties have confirmed in writing that they have completed their domestic requirements.
  • It is the first FTA that India has signed with a major developed country in over a decade.

Key Benefits:

  • Under the pact, Australia is offering zero-duty access to India for about 96.4% of exports (by value) from day one. This covers many products that currently attract 4-5% customs duty in Australia.
  • Labour-intensive sectors would gain immensely include textiles and apparel, few agricultural and fish products, leather, footwear, furniture, sports goods, jewellery, machinery, electrical goods and railway wagons. 
  • Australia has offered wide ranging commitments in around 135 sub sectors regarding trade in services including in key areas of India’s interest like IT, ITES, Business services, Health, Education, and Audio visual. 
  • India will be offering preferential access to Australia on over 70% of its tariff lines, including lines of export interest to Australia which are primarily raw materials and intermediaries such as coal, mineral ores and wines etc.
  • A long pending issue under Double taxation related to IT/ITES has been resolved under this Agreement which will provide a financial savings of more than US$ 200 million per year as per the estimates received from the Industry Associations. 
  • An estimated 10 lakh jobs is expected to be created as a result of the ECTA.

Strategic importance:

  • With Australia and Japan, India has formed the trilateral Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI).
  • It aims to strengthen the Indo-Pacific region’s supply chains, develop reliable sources of supply, and attract investment.
  • It also aims to attract FDI to the region and strengthen the participants’ mutually beneficial relationships.
  • Quad was formed by the United States, Australia, India, and Japan to improve cooperation and develop partnerships on a variety of issues of mutual concern.
  • While the two countries are already part of recently formed four-nation Quad, the trilateral Supply Chain Resilience Initiative and the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF), the bilateral trade deal is a strong positive signal about India’s credentials to other countries moving towards a ‘China plus one’ strategy. 

Read more on India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA)

Nut Graf: Recently approved India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) will boost manufacturing in India and open up the potential for jobs by Australian investments coming to India. Further, the agreement will improve the geopolitical partnership between India and a friendly democratic country like Australia and fix India’s overall global competitiveness.
Category: GOVERNANCE

1. OTT (Communication Services) and draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022

Syllabus: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Mains: Key features and significance of the draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022

Context: The Union Government has put the draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022 in the public domain for suggestions and feedback.

Introduction

  • The proposed Bill aims to bring sweeping changes to how the telecom sector is governed. 
  • The new law will replace the three existing laws: 
    • The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885
    • The Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933
    • The Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950
  • The draft bill takes into consideration the need for a new legal framework that is future-ready.  
  • OTT and communication apps like Whatsapp, Signal, Telegram, etc. that provide voice or video calling service would fall under the ambit of this bill but through a light-touch regulation.
  • The law also provides for an enabling framework to facilitate innovation and technological development in telecommunication. Moreover, it enables a legal framework for preventing harassment of users from unsolicited calls and messages.

OTT provision in the draft bill:

  • Draft bill have included the Over The Top or OTT (Communication Services) within its ambit based on the principle of “same service, same rules”. 
  • Over-the-top (OTT) communication services are those services that provide real-time person-to-person telecommunication services. 
    • Examples: Online messaging platforms such as Whatsapp, Telegram, Messenger, Google Meet, etc. 
  • These service platforms utilise the network infrastructure of Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) such as Jio, Vodafone-Idea and Airtel and facilitate various services that actually compete with these TSPs such as online voice calls, video calls and messaging services. 
    • TSPs have raised concerns about these features being detrimental for them as they impact their sources of revenues and further that these OTT service platforms are not mandated to deal with infrastructure and licensing costs that the TSPs have to undertake. 
    • The TSPs have sought the government to establish a level playing field with OTT services.
  • The latest draft Bill broadens the definition of “telecommunication services” to include OTT communication services. 
    • This means that the OTT telecommunication services might also be subjected to similar licensing conditions as TSPs. 
    • As per the existing framework, TSPs are required to be issued a Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) for them to provide telecom services in the country.
    • If OTT service platforms are mandated to obtain the same licence, they would be subjected to various conditions like collecting “know your customer” details of the users, adhering to encryption regulations and providing legal access to the equipment and networks for the government.
  • The absence of OTT is no impediment for a telco to provide its services. OTT communication services are value-added communication services that ride on the basic communication services that telcos provide. 
  • OTT communication services are already covered under the existing IT Act and, presumably, will continue to be so under the proposed Digital India Act. 
  • OTTs can be and are regulated  but not licensed or pre-authorised.
  • The proposed Telecom Bill and the current Telegraph Act are based on the principle that provision of telecommunication services is the sole privilege of the government except to the extent that private entities are permitted.
    • This enables and encourages creativity, innovation, new products and venture capital funding.
  • The Telecom Bill will impact only India-based OTT players and not those operating from overseas. This would seriously handicap Indian service providers vis a vis their foreign competitors. 

Nut Graf: Draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022 is said to be a significant move for the telecom sector as it provides an opportunity to keep up with the latest advancements and newer challenges in the sector. Inclusion of OTT communication service providers within the ambit of the Bill is a deeply flawed idea as it could compromise the energy, innovation and funding that characterises India’s startup ecosystem today.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Burlang Yatra

Syllabus: GS-1; Indian Art and culture and society

Prelims: About Burlang Yatra festival and Kutia Kondh tribe

Context: At a time when the revival of nutritious millets is gaining attention, Kutia Kondh tribes of Odisha are contributing to the survival and mainstreaming of millets through their Burlang Yatra festival.

Burlang Yatra

  • Burlang Yatra is an annual traditional festival of the Kutia Kondh tribes.
  • During this festival, the women of the community worship and exchange seeds of paddy, pulses, millets, vegetables, etc. through a celebratory mode of songs and dances.
  • The festival starts with women farmers carrying decorated earthen pots filled with indigenous seeds, roots and herbs which are proven conducive to the agro-climatic conditions of the area and dancing to the beats of drums, horn and cymbal in their traditional manner.
  • Large varieties of indigenous and endangered millet seeds such as suan (little millet), foxtail millet, and jowar, ragi (finger millets) are exchanged between farmers.
  • A movement centred on this traditional tribal festival, has now resulted in the cultivation of about 12 types of millets as compared to only five types in 2011 in the Tumudibandh block in the Kondhmal district of Odisha.
  • Recently, NIRMAN and the Millet Network of India (MINI), a forum founded for promotion of millet have collaborated and have started celebrating the Burlang Yatra on a large scale in order to increase awareness of millets.

Kutia Kondh tribes

  • The Kutia Kondhs are a group of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) found in Kalahandi district of the State of Odisha.
  • Kutia Kondhs are one of the most primitive groups of the Kondh tribes.
  • Kutia kondhs are mainly dependent on shifting cultivation (slash-and-burn) which they call as “dongar chaas or podu chaas”, cultivation of minor agriculture products, animal husbandry and collection of non-timber forest produce (NTFP).
  • Like the other Kondh groups, Kutia Kondhs also worship nature and the members of the group take turns to protect forests and wildlife surrounding their settlements.

G. Tidbits

1. Civil Aviation Ministry notifies draft Aircraft Security Rules, 2022

  • The Civil Aviation Ministry notified the draft Aircraft Security Rules, 2022 and once these new draft Rules are approved, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) would be empowered to impose a fine of ₹50 lakhs to ₹1 crore on airports and airlines that fail to prepare and implement a security programme, or start their operations without seeking a security clearance.
    • As per the draft Rules, the BCAS can also suspend or cancel an entity’s airport security clearance and security programme.
  • In order to address the issues of cyber security threats, the Rules also mandate every entity to protect its information and communication technology systems against unauthorised use and bar the disclosure of sensitive aviation security information. 
  • The draft Rules also authorise airports to engage private security agents instead of CISF personnel at “non-core areas” and assign security duties according to the National Civil Aviation Policy, 2016.
  • The draft Rules once approved will replace the Aircraft Security Rules, 2011 and was required as the Parliament enacted the Aircraft Amendment Act, 2020  which accorded statutory powers to BCAS, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).

2. Unemployment rate dips marginally to 7.2% in July-September: survey

pasted image 0 21

Image Source: The Hindu

  • As per the latest Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the urban unemployment rate for persons above the age of 15 has reduced to 7.2% in July-September from 7.6% in the previous quarter and 9.8% in 2021.
  • The Unemployment Ratio is defined as the percentage of individuals unemployed among the persons in the labour force.
    • The unemployment rate was found to be 6.6% for men and 9.4% for women in the recent survey as compared to 9.3% and 11.6%, respectively, in July-September 2021.
  • The Worker Population Ratio (WPR) which is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population has witnessed a slight increase compared to the 2021 figues.
    • The WPR in urban areas for persons aged 15 and above were found to be 44.5% in July-September 2022 which increased from 42.3% in 2021.
    • The WPR among men and women was 68.6% and 19.7% as compared to 66.6% and 17.6% respectively in 2021.
  • The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) which is defined as the percentage of people in the labour force who are working or seeking or available for work in the population also saw an increase.
    • In Urban areas, for persons aged 15 and above the LFPR increased to 47.9% in July-September 2022 as compared to 46.9% in 2021.
    • The LFPR among men and women  was 73.4% and 21.7% as compared to 73.5% and 19.9% respectively in 2021.

3. Domestic demand to help offset dent in exports from global slowdown: Ministry

pasted image 0 22

Image Source: The Hindu

  • According to the Finance Ministry, the outlook for India’s exports could have been affected by the global slowdown on account of high inflation, rising borrowing costs and geopolitical tensions. However, the resilient domestic demand and a re-invigorated investment cycle are expected to drive the economic growth and spark a rebound in jobs.
  • The Finance Ministry in its monthly review has held that the recent inflation pressures has been driven more by local factors such as higher food prices, than the imported reasons and such pressures has also been offset due to easing international commodity prices and the arrival of the Kharif crop.
  • India’s retail inflation has breached the 7% mark in all but two months since April, and stood at 6.8% in October. India’s goods exports also contracted for the first time since February 2021 in October due to the slowdown in China affecting global trade. 
  • The Finance Ministry also acknowledged the fact that the demand under the MGNREGS had also fallen in October to its lowest level in 2022. However, the steep increase in the tractor sales in September and October reflects “improved sentiments and an expected increase in crop area sown”.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with regards to Measles: (Level – Easy)
  1. India successfully eliminated Measles in 2019.
  2. Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is a cause of death among young children globally.
  3. Absence of any vaccine is the major cause of high deaths due to Measles.

Choose the correct code:

  1. One statement is correct
  2. Two statements are correct
  3. All statements are correct
  4. None of them
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, India is still combating Measles and it is still not eradicated in India.
  • Statement 2 is correct, Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It remains an important cause of death among young children globally.
  • Statement 3 is not correct, Vaccines are available for Measles, but the low vaccine coverage is one of the major causes of high deaths due to Measles.
Q2. Consider the following statements with regards to CDRI (Coalition for Disaster 
Resilient Infrastructure): (Level – Easy)
  1. It is the Government of India’s second major global initiative after the International Solar Alliance, and it demonstrates India’s leadership in climate change and disaster resilience issues.
  2. It was launched in 2019.
  3. The CDRI Secretariat is based in New Delhi, India.

Choose the correct code:

  1. 1 & 3 only
  2.  2 & 3 only
  3. 1 only
  4. All of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, CDRI is India’s second international climate initiative. The first was the International Solar Alliance (ISA), launched at the 2015 Paris climate change conference. This demonstrates India’s leadership in climate change and disaster resilience issues.
  • Statement 2 is correct, CDRI was started by India in 2019.
  • Statement 3 is correct, The CDRI Secretariat is located in New Delhi, India.
Q3.Consider the following statements with regards to the Earthquakes:(Level - Medium)
  1. Wadati – Benioff zone is a zone of subduction, along which earthquakes are common, which are produced by the interaction of a downgoing oceanic crustal plate against a continental plate.
  2. The Alpide earthquake belt (mid Continental belt) extends from Java to Sumatra through the Himalayas, the Mediterranean, and out into the Atlantic.
  3. Most of the mid-Atlantic Ridge is deep underwater and far from human development.

Choose the correct code:

  1. None of the statements is correct
  2. Only one statement is correct
  3. Only two statements are correct
  4. All the statements are correct
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, Wadati – Benioff zone is a zone of subduction, along which earthquakes are common, which are produced by the interaction of a downgoing oceanic crustal plate against a continental plate.
  • Statement 2 is correct, The Alpide earthquake belt (mid Continental belt) extends from Java to Sumatra through the Himalayas, the Mediterranean, and out into the Atlantic. 
    • This belt accounts for about 17% of the world’s largest earthquakes.
  • Statement 3 is correct, Most of the mid-Atlantic Ridge is deep underwater and far from human development.
Q4. ‘Manx’, recently seen in the news refers to (Level – Medium)
  1. A recently found dinosaur fossil in Nairobi
  2. An ancient language
  3. SpaceX’s upcoming mission to land on an asteroid
  4. India’s underwater vessel to explore deep ocean
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • “Manx” is a Gaelic language of the insular Celtic branch of the Celtic language family which is a branch of the Indo-European language family.
  • Manx is the historical language of the Manx people who belong to an ethnic group originating on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea in northern Europe.
Q5. Which principle among the ‘following was added to the Directive Principles of 
State Policy by the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution? (Level – Easy) PYQ (2017)
  1. Equal pay for equal work for both men and women
  2. Participation of workers in the management of industries
  3. Right to work, education and public assistance
  4. Securing living wage and human conditions of work to workers
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 added four new Directive Principles to the original list. They require the State:
    • To secure opportunities for healthy development of children (Article 39).
    • To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor (Article 39 A).
    • To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries (Article 43 A)
    • To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife (Article 48 A)

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. India’s trade pact with Australia is mutually beneficial. Analyse. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS-2; International Relations) 
  2. Can poor countries afford the cost of transitioning to clean energies? Critically Discuss. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS-3; Environment)

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 25 Nov 2022:- Download PDF Here

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